Jul 30 2008
The tensions and fighting are still escalating in the tribal areas that span the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. While US, NATO and Afghani troops have a good handle on the Afghan side of the problem area, the Pakistan tribal regions known as FATA and NWFP (click map below for larger image) are the last large sanctuary for Islamo Fascists groups like the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The recent missile strike which took out a key al-Qaeda chemical weapons expert hiding in the South Waziristan Agency of FATA has resulted in some interesting reactions – to say the least.
The largest question looming for Pakistan is whether they can control their tribal areas, and those within their intelligence agency you support and cover for the terrorists. Our hit on a target inside FATA underscores our doubts about the Pakistan efforts to deal with the dangerous elements hiding out inside their country.
I wanted to start with something Steve Schippert posted over at Threats Watch, which dovetailed nicely with some stories I had run across. Here is what concerns Steve and many others:
Pakistani Prime Minister Gilaniâ€™s demands that the United States hand Pakistan intelligence and allow the Pakistanis to exclusively â€œdo the jobâ€ themselves has been irking me all day and into this morning.
An August 2007 PrincipalAnalysis on precisely this – cause and (adverse) effect in sharing target intelligence with Pakistan
FromÂ American Power Play In Pakistan: al-Qaeda Abandons Camps After US Intelligence Shared with PakistanÂ on August 13, 2007:
Sharing Intelligence Often Nets An Alerted EnemyAdding fuel to the fires of concern, Syed Saleem Shahzad reported in his latest from the region, â€˜Taliban a step ahead of US assaultâ€™, that the United States supplied Musharrafâ€™s government with detailed and specific intelligence on 29 al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorist training camps operating in the provinces of North Waziristan and South Waziristan. Not long after that transfer of intelligence, all but one of the terror camps went cold.
This is, in fact, a real problem. The Pakistanis want to claim they can handle the situation but elements of their security forces are working with the enemy. Let me add a few more dots to the picture so we can see this is probably still happening in 2008. Here is a story about a recent secret CIA visit to Pakistan to provide intelligence to Pakistan:
A top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled secretly to Islamabad this month to confront Pakistanâ€™s most senior officials with new information about ties between the countryâ€™s powerful spy service and militants operating in Pakistanâ€™s tribal areas, according to American military and intelligence officials.
The C.I.A. emissary presented evidence showing that members of the spy service had deepened their ties with some militant groups that were responsible for a surge of violence in Afghanistan, possibly including the suicide bombing this month of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the officials said.
The decision to confront Pakistan with what the officials described as a new C.I.A. assessment of the spy serviceâ€™s activities seemed to be the bluntest American warning to Pakistan since shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks about the ties between the spy service and Islamic militants.
And then if you add in this recent story on a Pakistani effort to invade a Madrassa hide out for one of the more notorious Taliban leaders you would see a familiar Pattern:
Backed by gunship helicopters, several hundred security forces Tuesday raided a madrassa run by well-known Afghan mujahideen and Taliban commander, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, at Danday Darpakhel village in North Waziristan tribal agency.
This was the eighth time that the madrassa was raided and searched. Official and tribal sources told this scribe from Danday Darpakhel, a town near Pakistanâ€™s border with Afghanistan, that a large number of troops from Pakistan Army and the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) along with Khassadars and Levies personnel first besieged the village and then raided the huge and famous madrassa known as â€œManba-ul-Uloomâ€.
Witnesses said the troops entered the seminary and broke locks and some doors and windows.Later, they searched the madrassa and the adjoining mosque. No arrest was made because the madrassa had been closed down sometime back. Nobody was living or studying there nowadays.
So what is this all about? Another dress rehearsal against a known closed up target? Or was someone there and the CIA used it to show how ISI double agents inside the Pakistan government can tip off our enemies. It is interesting how the militants are foreign fighters are beaten back in the NWFP, but in FATA they always seem to sneak past the military and security forces.
It may be this CIA agent not only listed probably Taliban spies inside the Pak government, but helped devise a plan with the Pak’s to uncover these traitors. Remember, Pakistan doesn’t want to be in between the militants, the angry people of Pakistan who are being killed and the US pressing on them to get the job done. They probably want this mess ended and are being crippled by those spies keeping the enemy alive. It is a plausible scenario – now we need to see some people hauled off to jail to find out if it is right.
In other news updates, those Taliban who said they were fighting Baitullah Meshud now claim they are all buddy-buddy. Â Same thing happened in Iraq in the early days of The Awakening – breaking up and going with The Great Satan is hard to do. Of course, there are still reports of the break up, which is why the Pak press is impossible to rely on (as our reader Crosspatch continuously reminds us).
I guess I do want to double back on something from the second to the last link there, which goes back to the main theme of the post. Check out these events:
Earlier this week, militants killed three army intelligence men in an ambush and also took hostage 30 police and paramilitary soldiers in a raid on their post.
There were also reports of a women spy assassinated. If the ISI is rife with traitors, which I assume is likely, then these traitors also could be turning in their fellow agents and officers to the enemy for assassination. This can not go on indefinitely before these other agents and officers start to work all out themselves to find the traitors killing them. Just a thought. It may be in Pakistan the ISI is willing to die for the cause. But so far such fanatical beliefs have only been held by a small minority in the Muslim communities of Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan (and one could argue even Iran, where the nuts run the asylum). Anyway, food for thought.